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Statins ID’d as Potential Therapy for Ulcerative Colitis

People with ulcerative colitis taking statins, regardless of their age, have nearly half the colectomy rates

FRIDAY, Sept. 17, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Statins may be a novel therapeutic option for treating ulcerative colitis, according to a study published online Sept. 16 in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

Lawrence Bai, from the Stanford University School of Medicine in California, and colleagues conducted a multicohort analysis to identify a robust transcriptomic signature that could improve identification of U.S. Food and Drug Association-approved drugs that can be repurposed to treat patients with ulcerative colitis. The analysis included 272 colon biopsy transcriptome samples across 11 publicly available datasets, which were compared against in vitro transcriptomic profiles induced by 781 FDA-approved drugs.

The researchers found that atorvastatin treatment had the highest inverse correlation with the ulcerative colitis gene signature among non-oncolytic FDA-approved therapies. Using data from the Stanford Research Repository database (STARR; 827 individuals) and the Optum Clinformatics DataMart (Optum; 7,821 individuals), atorvastatin use was significantly associated with a decreased risk for colectomy (a marker of treatment-refractory disease) versus patients prescribed a comparator drug (hazard ratios, 0.47 and 0.66 for STARR and Optum, respectively), regardless of age and length of atorvastatin treatment.

“At this point, one could argue that this data shows a strong enough connection to start prescribing statins for ulcerative colitis,” Khatri said in a statement. “I think we’re almost there. We need to validate the effects a bit more stringently before moving it into the clinic.”

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